The Arctic Ocean, located in the northern hemisphere and mostly in the Arctic north polar region, is the smallest and shallowest of the world's five major oceans. EARTH was a short-lived Japanese vocal trio which released 6 singles and 1 album between 2000 and 2001 An ocean (from Greek, ''Okeanos'' (Oceanus) is a major body of saline water, and a principal component of the Hydrosphere. The World Ocean, world ocean, or global ocean is the interconnected system of the Earth 's Oceanic (or marine) Waters The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's Oceanic divisions covering about 20% of the water on the Earth 's surface The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth 's Oceanic divisions The Southern Ocean, also known as the Great Southern Ocean, the Antarctic Ocean and the South Polar Ocean, comprises the southernmost waters of Northern Hemisphere is the half of a Planet that is North of the Equator —the word hemisphere literally means 'half ball' The Arctic is the Region around the Earth 's North Pole, opposite the Antarctic region around the South Pole. The North Pole, also known as the Geographic North Pole or Terrestrial North Pole, is subject to the caveats explained below defined as the point in the northern An ocean (from Greek, ''Okeanos'' (Oceanus) is a major body of saline water, and a principal component of the Hydrosphere.  The International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) recognizes it as an ocean, although some oceanographers call it the Arctic Mediterranean Sea or simply the Arctic Sea, classifying it as one of the mediterranean seas of the Atlantic Ocean. The International Hydrographic Organization (IHO was originally established in 1921 as the International Hydrographic Bureau (IHB Oceanography (from the greek words Ωκεανός meaning Ocean and γράφω meaning to write also called oceanology or For the Mediterranean Sea between Europe and Africa, see the Mediterranean Sea. Alternatively, the Arctic Ocean can be seen as the northernmost lobe of the all-encompassing World Ocean. The World Ocean, world ocean, or global ocean is the interconnected system of the Earth 's Oceanic (or marine) Waters
Almost completely surrounded by Eurasia and North America, the Arctic Ocean is largely covered by sea ice throughout the year. For the superstate in George Orwell 's novel see Nations of Nineteen Eighty-Four. Sea ice is formed from Ocean water that freezes Because the Oceans consist of Saltwater, this occurs at about -1 The Arctic Ocean's temperature and salinity vary seasonally as the ice cover melts and freezes; its salinity is the lowest on average of the five major oceans, due to low evaporation, heavy freshwater inflow from rivers and streams, and limited connection and outflow to surrounding oceanic waters with higher salinities. Temperature is a physical property of a system that underlies the common notions of hot and cold something that is hotter generally has the greater temperature Salinity is the Saltiness or dissolved salt content of a body of Water. A season is one of the major divisions of the Year, generally based on yearly periodic changes in Weather. Ice is a Solid phase, usually crystalline, of a Non-metalic substance that is liquid or gas at Room temperature, such as Ammonia Evaporation is the process by which Molecules in a Liquid state (e Freshwater is a word that refers to bodies of water such as Ponds lakes rivers and streams containing low concentrations of dissolved Salts and other Total dissolved "Riverine" redirects here For the use of that term in Maritime geography, see there A stream is a body of Water with a current, confined within a bed and stream-banks The summer shrinking of the ice has been quoted at 50%. Summer is one of the four Temperate Seasons Summer marks the warmest time of year with the longest days 
The Arctic Ocean occupies a roughly circular basin and covers an area of about 14,056,000 km² (5,440,000 sq mi), almost the size of Russia. Bathymetry is the underwater equivalent to Hypsometry. The name comes from Greek βαθυς deep, and μετρον measure. Topography ( topo-, "place" and graphia, "writing" is the study of Earth 's Surface features or those of Planets A map is a visual representation of an area—a symbolic depiction highlighting relationships between elements of that space such as objects, Regions, and Themes Square Kilometre ( US spelling square kilometer) symbol km2, is a decimal multiple of the SI unit of The square mile is an imperial and US unit of Area equal the area of a square of one statute mile. Russia (Россия Rossiya) or the Russian Federation ( Rossiyskaya Federatsiya) is a transcontinental Country extending  The coastline length is 45,390 kilometers (28,203 miles). The kilometre ( American spelling: kilometer) symbol km is a unit of Length in the Metric system, equal to one thousand A mile is a unit of Length, usually used to measure Distance, in a number of different systems including Imperial units United States  Nearly landlocked, it is surrounded by the land masses of Eurasia, North America, Greenland, and several islands. Greenland (Kalaallit Nunaat meaning "Land of the Greenlanders" Grønland is a self-governing Danish Province located between the An island (ˈaɪlənd or isle (/ˈaɪl/ is any piece of land that is completely surrounded by water in two dimensions above high tide and isolated from other significant It includes Baffin Bay, Barents Sea, Beaufort Sea, Chukchi Sea, East Siberian Sea, Greenland Sea, Hudson Bay, Hudson Strait, Kara Sea, Laptev Sea, White Sea and other tributary bodies of water. Baffin Bay (French Baie de Baffin) is a Sea between the Atlantic and Arctic oceans The Barents Sea (Barentshavet Баренцево море is a part of the Arctic Ocean located north of Norway and Russia. Chukchi Sea (Чуко́тское мо́ре is a Marginal sea of the Arctic Ocean. The East Siberian Sea ( Russian: ru Восто́чно-Сиби́рское мо́ре is a Marginal sea in the Arctic Ocean. The Greenland Sea is an area of the Arctic Ocean, considered the northern part of the Norwegian Sea, spanning Greenland, Svalbard, Hudson Strait links the Atlantic Ocean to Hudson Bay in Canada. The Kara Sea ( Russian: Ка́рское мо́ре is part of the Arctic Ocean north of Siberia. The Laptev Sea ( Russian: мо́ре Ла́птевых is a Marginal sea of the Arctic Ocean. The White Sea (Бе́лое мо́ре Vienanmeri is an Inlet of the Barents Sea on the northwest coast of Russia. It is connected to the Pacific Ocean by the Bering Strait and to the Atlantic Ocean through the Greenland Sea and Labrador Sea. The Bering Strait (Берингов пролив Beringov proliv) is a sea Strait between Cape Dezhnev, Russia, the easternmost point (169°43' Labrador Sea (French mer du Labrador) (60°00'N 55°00'W is an arm of the North Atlantic Ocean between Labrador and Greenland. Its geographic coordinates are:
An underwater ridge, the Lomonosov Ridge, divides the deep sea North Polar Basin into two oceanic basins: the Eurasian Basin, which is between 4,000 and 4,500 meters (13,000 and 15,000 ft) deep, and the Amerasian Basin (sometimes called the North American, or Hyperborean Basin), which is about 4,000 meters (13,000 ft) deep. A mid-ocean ridge or mid-oceanic ridge is an underwater Mountain range typically having a valley known as a Rift running along its axis formed by The Lomonosov Ridge (Хребет Ломоносова tr: Khrebet Lomonosova; Dorsale de Lomonossov is an unusual underwater ridge of Continental crust The North Polar Basin is an Oceanic basin in the Arctic Ocean, consisting of two main parts the Amerasian Basin (also Central Polar Basin) and Hydrologically an oceanic basin may be anywhere on Earth that is covered by Seawater, but geologically ocean basins are large geologic basins The Eurasian Basin, is one of the two major basins into which the North Polar Basin of the Arctic Ocean is split by the Lomonosov Ridge (the other one The metre or meter is a unit of Length. It is the basic unit of Length in the Metric system and in the International The Amerasian Basin is one of the two major basins into which the North Polar Basin of the Arctic Ocean is split by the Lomonosov Ridge (the other one being The bathymetry of the ocean bottom is marked by fault-block ridges, plains of the abyssal zone, ocean deeps, and basins. Bathymetry is the underwater equivalent to Hypsometry. The name comes from Greek βαθυς deep, and μετρον measure. Abyssal plains are flat or very gently sloping areas of the deep Ocean basin floor The average depth of the Arctic Ocean is 1,038 meters (3,407 ft).  The deepest point is in the Eurasian Basin, at 5,450 meters (17,881 ft).
The two major basins are further subdivided by ridges into the Canada Basin (between Alaska/Canada and the Alpha Ridge), Makarov Basin (between the Alpha and Lomonosov Ridges), Fram Basin (between Lomonosov and Nansen-Gakkel ridges), and Nansen Basin (Amundsen Basin) (between the Nansen-Gakkel Ridge and the continental shelf that includes the Franz Joseph Land). Country to "Dominion of Canada" or "Canadian Federation" or anything else please read the Talk Page For a ridge in Alaska see Alpha Ridge Alaska The Alpha Ridge is a major volcanic ridge under the Arctic Ocean between the Canada The Gakkel Ridge (formerly known as the Nansen Cordillera and Arctic Mid-Ocean Ridge) is a Mid-oceanic ridge, a divergent tectonic plate boundary The continental shelf is the extended perimeter of each Continent and associated Coastal plain, which is covered during interglacial periods such Franz Josef Land, Franz Joseph Land, or Francis Joseph's Land ( Russ
The Arctic Ocean contains a major chokepoint in the southern Chukchi Sea, which provides northern access to the Pacific Ocean via the Bering Strait between North America and the Russian city of Arkhangelsk. In military strategy a choke point (or chokepoint) is a geographical feature on land such as a valley or defile, or at sea such as a Strait which an armed Arkhangelsk (Арха́нгельск formerly called Archangel in English, is a city and the administrative center of Arkhangelsk Oblast The Arctic Ocean also provides the shortest marine link between the extremes of eastern and western Russia. There are several floating research stations in the Arctic, operated by the US and Russia.
The greatest inflow of water comes from the Atlantic by way of the Norwegian Current, which then flows along the Eurasian coast. The Norwegian Current (also known as the Norwegian Coastal Current) is a water current that flows north-easterly along the Atlantic coast of Norway at depths of between Water also enters from the Pacific via the Bering Strait. The East Greenland Current carries the major outflow. The East Greenland Current originates in the Arctic Ocean and brings cold low Salinity, southbound water along the East Coast of Greenland
Ice covers most of the ocean surface year-round, causing subfreezing temperatures much of the time. The Arctic is a major source of very cold air that inevitably moves toward the equator, meeting with warmer air in the middle latitudes and causing rain and snow. Temperature and layers The temperature of the Earth's atmosphere varies with altitude the mathematical relationship between temperature and altitude varies among five The equator (sometimes referred to colloquially as "the Line") is the intersection of the Earth 's surface with the plane perpendicular to the Latitude, usually denoted symbolically by the Greek letter phi ( Φ) gives the location of a place on Earth (or other planetary body north or south of the Rain is Liquid precipitation. On Earth it is the condensation of atmospheric Water vapor into drops heavy enough to fall often making it to "Snowfall" redirects here For other uses see Snow (disambiguation or Snowfall (disambiguation. Marine life abounds in open areas, especially the more southerly waters. Marine biology is the scientific study of living Organisms in the Ocean or other marine or Brackish bodies of water The ocean's major ports are the cities of Murmansk, Arkhangelsk, Churchill and Prudhoe Bay. ||-||-|-||-||-||-||-||-||-|} A port is a facility for receiving Ships and transferring cargo A city is an Urban area with a large Population and a particular Administrative, Legal, or Historical status Murmansk (Му́рманск Murmanska Muurman is a city and Seaport in the extreme northwest part of Russia, on the Kola Bay, 12 km Churchill ( 2006 Population 923 is a town on the shore of Hudson Bay in Manitoba, Canada, situated at the Estuary of the Churchill Prudhoe Bay (ˈpruːdoʊ is a Census-designated place (CDP located in North Slope Borough in the U 
The Arctic Ocean is encompassed by the Arctic shelves, one of which, the Siberian Shelf, is the largest on Earth. EARTH was a short-lived Japanese vocal trio which released 6 singles and 1 album between 2000 and 2001
For much of European history, the geography of the North Polar regions remained largely unexplored and conjectural. Painting (pān'tīng in Art, is the practice of applying Color to a Surface (support base such as e Baron (Nils Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld, also known as A E Nordenskioeld (November 18 1832 Helsinki, Finland &mdash August 12 1901 Dalby Skåne Georg von Rosen (1843-1923 was a Swedish painter known for his treatment of subjects from Swedish history and Norse mythology. The Open Polar Sea was a hypothesized ice-free ocean surrounding the North Pole. The Northwest Passage is a sea route through the Arctic Ocean, along the northern coast of North America via waterways amidst the Canadian Arctic Archipelago The history of Europe describes the passage of time from humans inhabiting the European continent to the present day Geography (from Greek γεωγραφία - geografia) is the study of the Earth and its lands features inhabitants and phenomena Pytheas of Massalia recorded an account of a journey northward in 325 BCE, to a land he called "Eschate Thule," where the Sun only set for three hours each day and the water was replaced by a congealed substance "on which one can neither walk nor sail. Dates Pliny says that Timaeus (born about 350 BC believed Pytheas' story of the discovery of Amber. Marseille, ( English alt Marseilles mɑrˈseɪ — French: maʁsɛj locally — Provençal Occitan: Marselha maʀˈsijɔ Events By place Macedonian Empire Alexander the Great leaves India and nominates his officer Peithon son of Agenor The Sun (Sol is the Star at the center of the Solar System. The hour (symbol h) is a unit of Time. It is not an SI unit but is accepted for use with the SI A day (symbol d is a unit of Time equivalent to 24 Hours and the duration of a single Rotation of planet Earth with respect to the Water is a common Chemical substance that is essential for the survival of all known forms of Life. Walking (also called ambulation) is the main form of Animal Locomotion on land, distinguished from Running and crawling Sailing is the art of controlling a Sailing vessel. By changing the Rigging, Rudder and dagger or centre board a Sailor manages the force " He was probably describing loose sea ice known today as "growlers" and "bergy bits. An iceberg is a large piece of freshwater Ice that has broken off from a snow-formed Glacier or Ice shelf and is floating in open water " His "Thule" may have been Iceland, though Norway is more often suggested. Iceland, officially the Republic of Iceland ( ( Ísland or Lýðveldið Ísland ( 
Early cartographers were unsure whether to draw the region around the North Pole as land (as in Johannes Ruysch's map of 1507, or Gerardus Mercator's map of 1595) or water (as with Martin Waldseemüller's world map of 1507). Johannes Ruysch (c 1460? Utrecht - 1533 Cologne) aka Johann Ruijsch or Giovanni Ruisch was an explorer cartographer astronomer manuscript A separate article is about the mathematician Nicholas Mercator. Martin Waldseemüller (Latinized Martinus Ilacomilus or Hylacomylus, c The fervent desire of Europeans for a northern passage to "Cathay" (China) caused water to win out, and by 1723 mapmakers such as Johann Homann featured an extensive "Oceanus Septentrionalis" at the northern edge of their charts. Cathay is the Anglicized version of "Catai" and an alternative name for China in English China ( Wade-Giles ( Mandarin) Chung¹kuo² is a cultural region, an ancient Civilization, and depending on perspective a National Johann Baptist Homann ( 20 March 1664 &ndash 1 July 1724) was a German Geographer and cartographer, who The few expeditions to penetrate much beyond the Arctic Circle in this era added only small islands, such as Nova Zemlya (11th century) and Spitsbergen (1596), though since these were often surrounded by pack-ice their northern limits were not so clear. Novaya Zemlya (Но́вая Земля́ also spelled Novaja Zemlja, lit The makers of navigational charts, more conservative than some of the more fanciful cartographers, tended to leave the region blank, with only the bits of known coastline sketched in.
This lack of knowledge of what lay north of the shifting barrier of ice gave rise to a number of conjectures. Sir George Hubert Wilkins MC & Bar (31 October 1888 - 30 November 1958 was an Australian polar explorer pilot soldier geographer and photographer In England and other European nations, the myth of an "Open Polar Sea" was long-lived and persistent. England is a Country which is part of the United Kingdom. Its inhabitants account for more than 83% of the total UK population whilst its mainland See also Mythology Myth is derived from the Greek word μύθος mythos, which simply means 'story' John Barrow, longtime Second Secretary of the British Admiralty, made this belief the cornerstone of his campaign of Arctic exploration from 1818 to 1845. Sir John Barrow 1st Baronet, FRS, FRGS, LLD ( June 19, 1764 &ndash November 23, 1848) was an English The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was the formal name of the United Kingdom from 1 January 1801 until 12 April 1927 The Admiralty was formerly the authority in the United Kingdom responsible for the command of the Royal Navy. Polar exploration is the physical exploration of the Arctic and Antarctic regions of the Earth. In the United States in the 1850s and '60s, the explorers Elisha Kent Kane and Isaac Israel Hayes both claimed to have seen the outskirts of this elusive body of water. Elisha Kent Kane ( 28 February 1820 &ndash 16 February 1857) was a medical officer in the United States Navy during the first half Isaac Israel Hayes ( March 5, 1832 – December 17, 1881) was an Arctic explorer and physician Even quite late in the century, the eminent authority Matthew Fontaine Maury included a description of the Open Polar Sea in his textbook The Physical Geography of the Sea (1883). Matthew Fontaine Maury ( January 14, 1806 &ndash February 1, 1873) USN was an American Astronomer, A textbook is a manual of instruction or a standard book in any branch of study Nevertheless, as all the explorers who trekked closer and closer to the pole reported, the polar ice cap was ultimately quite thick, and persists year-round. An ice cap is an Ice mass that covers less than 50 000 km² of land area (usually covering a highland area
Fridtjof Nansen was the first to make a nautical crossing of the Arctic Ocean, in 1896. Fridtjof Wedel-Jarlsberg Nansen (October 10 1861 – May 13 1930 was a Norwegian Explorer, Scientist and Diplomat. Seamanship is the art of operating a ship or boat It involves a knowledge of a variety of topics and development of specialised skills including Navigation and international The first surface crossing of the ocean was led by Wally Herbert in 1969, in a dog sled expedition from Alaska to Svalbard with air support. Sir Walter William "Wally" Herbert ( 24 October 1934 &ndash 12 June 2007) was an British polar Explorer, A dog sled is a Sled pulled by one or more Sled dogs used to travel over Ice and through Snow. In Military tactics, close air support ( CAS) is defined as air action by fixed or rotary winged aircraft against hostile targets that are in close proximity to
Since 1937, Soviet and Russian manned drifting ice stations extensively monitored the Arctic Ocean. Soviet and Russian manned drifting ice stations are important contributors to exploration of the Arctic. Scientific settlements were established on the drift ice and carried thousands of kilometers by ice floes. Drift ice is Sea ice that floats on the surface of the water in cold regions as opposed to Fast ice, which is attached ("fastened" to a shore Sea ice is formed from Ocean water that freezes Because the Oceans consist of Saltwater, this occurs at about -1 
|The images compare late summer and late winter ice cover, averaged between the years 1978 and 2002. |
Under the influence of the present ice age, the ocean is contained in a polar climate characterized by persistent cold and relatively narrow annual temperature ranges. An ice age is a period of long-term reduction in the Temperature of the Earth 's surface and atmosphere resulting in an expansion of continental Ice sheets Regions with a polar climate are characterized by a lack of warm summers (specifically no month having an average temperature of 10 °C or higher Temperature range is the numerical difference between the minimum and maximum values of temperature observed in a system such as Atmospheric temperature in a given location Winters are characterized by continuous darkness, cold and stable weather conditions, and clear skies; summers are characterized by continuous daylight, damp and foggy weather, and weak cyclones with rain or snow. Winter is one of the four Seasons of Temperate zones Calculated astronomically, it begins on the Solstice and ends on the Equinox Daylight or the light of day is the combination of all direct and indirect Sunlight outdoors during the daytime (and perhaps Twilight) Fog is a cloud that is in contact with the ground Stratus clouds are usually the only clouds that touch the ground In Meteorology, a cyclone refers to an area of closed circular fluid motion rotating in the same direction as the Earth.
The temperature of the surface of the Arctic Ocean is fairly constant, near the freezing point of seawater, slightly below zero degrees Celsius. Seawater is Water from a Sea or Ocean. On average seawater in the world's oceans has a Salinity of about 3 The Celsius Temperature scale was previously known as the centigrade scale. In the winter the relatively warm ocean water exerts a moderating influence, even when covered by ice. This is one reason why the Arctic does not experience the extremes of temperature seen on the Antarctic continent.
There is considerable seasonal variation in how much pack ice of the Arctic ice pack covers the Arctic Ocean. Drift ice is Sea ice that floats on the surface of the water in cold regions as opposed to Fast ice, which is attached ("fastened" to a shore Polar ice packs are large areas of Pack ice formed from Seawater in the Earth 's Polar regions known as Polar ice caps the Arctic Much of the ocean is also covered in snow for about 10 months of the year. The month is a unit of Time, used with Calendars which is approximately as long as some natural period related to the motion of the Moon; The maximum snow cover is in March or April — about 20 to 50 centimeters (8 to 20 inches) over the frozen ocean. A centimetre ( American spelling: centimeter, symbol cm) is a unit of Length in the Metric system, equal to one hundredth Inches redirects here To see the Les Savy Fav album see Inches.
Climate has varied significantly in the past; as recently as 55 million years ago, during the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum the region reached an average annual temperature of 10-20 °C; the surface waters of the northernmost Arctic ocean warmed, seasonally at least, enough to support tropical lifeforms requiring surface temperatures of over 22°C. The Paleocene /Eocene boundary, was marked by the most rapid and significant climatic disturbance of the Cenozoic Era. 
See also Territorial claims in the Arctic
Petroleum and natural gas fields, placer deposits, polymetallic nodules, sand and gravel aggregates, fish, seals and whales can all be found in abundance in the region. Under international law no country currently owns the North Pole or the region of the Arctic Ocean surrounding it Petroleum ( L petroleum, from Greek πετρέλαιον, lit Natural gas is a Gaseous Fossil fuel consisting primarily of Methane but including significant quantities of Ethane, Propane, In Geology, a placer deposit or placer is an accumulation of valuable minerals formed by deposition of dense mineral phases in a trap site Polymetallic nodules, also called manganese nodules, are rock concretions on the Sea bottom formed of concentric layers of Iron and Manganese Sand is a naturally occurring Granular material composed of finely divided rock and Mineral particles Gravel is rock that is of a specific Particle size range In Geology, gravel is any loose rock that is larger than two millimeters (2mm Fish are aquatic Vertebrate animals that are typically ectothermic (previously Cold-blooded) covered with scales, and equipped with two Pinnipeds ("fin-feet" lit "winged feet" or fin-footed mammals are a widely distributed and diverse group of semi-aquatic marine Mammals comprising Whales are marine mammals which are neither Dolphins (ie members of the families Delphinidae or Platanistoidae) nor Porpoises Orcas 
The political dead zone near the center of the sea is also at the center of a mounting dispute between the United States, Russia, Canada, Norway, and Denmark. The Kingdom of Denmark ( ˈd̥ænmɑɡ̊ (archaic ˈd̥anmɑːɡ̊ commonly known as Denmark, is a country in the Scandinavian region of northern Europe  It is considered significant because of its potential to contain as much as or more than a quarter of the world's undiscovered oil and gas resources, the tapping of which could greatly alter the flow of the global energy market. 
Ice islands occasionally break away from northern Ellesmere Island, and icebergs are formed from glaciers in western Greenland and extreme northeastern Canada. "Glacial" and "Glaciation" redirect here For the geological periods see Glacial period. Permafrost is found on most islands. This article is about frozen ground For other meanings see Permafrost (disambiguation. The ocean is virtually icelocked from October to June, and ships are subject to superstructure icing from October to May. A ship /ʃɪp/ is a large vessel that floats on water Ships are generally distinguished from Boats based on size A superstructure is an upward extension of an existing structure above a baseline Icing on Ships is a serious hazard where cold Temperatures (below about -10°C combined with high Wind speed (typically force 8 or above on the Beaufort  Before the advent of modern icebreakers, ships sailing the Arctic Ocean risked being trapped or crushed by sea ice. An icebreaker is a special purpose Ship or Boat designed to move and navigate through Ice -covered waters Interestingly, two "ghost ships", the Baychimo and the Octavius, drifted through the Arctic Ocean untended for decades despite these hazards. In modern English, the term ghost ship has come to denote at least one of three separate (though occasionally overlapping definitions all of which involving in one respect The Baychimo was a steel 1322 ton cargo steamer built in 1914 in Sweden and owned by the Hudson's Bay Company, used to trade pelts for provisions in The Octavius was a Ghost ship, probably legendary and not actual A decade is a period of 10 Years (since 1594 a factor of 10 difference between two numbers, or sometimes a set or a group of ten (since 1451
Endangered marine species include walruses and whales. The polar bear ( Ursus maritimus) is a Bear native to the Arctic Ocean and its surrounding seas The walrus ( Odobenus rosmarus) is a large flippered Marine mammal with a discontinuous circumpolar distribution in the Arctic Ocean and  The area has a fragile ecosystem which is slow to change and slow to recover from disruptions or damage. An ecosystem is a natural unit consisting of all plants animals and micro-organisms( Biotic factors in an area functioning together with all of the non-living physical ( 
The Arctic Ocean has relatively little plant life except for phytoplankton. Phytoplankton are the Autotrophic component of the Plankton community Phytoplankton are a crucial part of the ocean and there are massive amounts of them in the Arctic. Nutrients from rivers and the currents of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans provide food for the Arctic phytoplankton. An ocean current is continuous directed movement of Ocean water.  During summer, the Sun is out day and night, thus enabling the phytoplankton to photosynthesize for long periods of time and reproduce quickly. Photosynthesis is a Metabolic pathway that converts Light Energy into Chemical energy. However, the reverse is true in winter where they struggle to get enough light to survive. 
The polar ice pack is thinning, and there is a seasonal hole in ozone layer in many years. Arctic shrinkage is the marked decrease in Arctic sea ice and the observed melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet in recent years Polar ice packs are large areas of Pack ice formed from Seawater in the Earth 's Polar regions known as Polar ice caps the Arctic Ozone depletion describes two distinct but related observations a slow steady decline of about 4 percent per decade in the total amount of Ozone in Earth's  Reduction of the area of Arctic sea ice will have an effect on the planet's albedo, thus possibly affecting global warming within a positive feedback mechanism. The albedo of an object is the extent to which it diffusely reflects light from the sun Global warming is the increase in the average measured temperature of the  Many scientists are presently concerned that warming temperatures in the Arctic may cause large amounts of fresh meltwater to enter the North Atlantic, possibly disrupting global ocean current patterns. Meltwater is the water released by the Melting of Snow or Ice, including glacial ice and Ice shelfs over oceans The term thermohaline circulation (THC refers to the part of the large-scale ocean circulation that is thought to be driven by global density gradients created by surface heat and Potentially severe changes in the Earth's climate might then ensue. Climate encompasses the temperatures humidity rainfall atmospheric particle count and numerous other meteorogical factors in a given region over long periods of 
Other environmental concerns relate to the radioactive contamination of the Arctic Ocean from, for example, Russian radioactive waste dumpsites in the Kara Sea and Cold War nuclear test sites such as Novaya Zemlya. Radioactive contamination is the uncontrolled distribution of radioactive material in a given environment Cold War is the state of conflict tension and competition that existed between the United States and the Soviet Union (USSR and their respective allies from the 
The National Snow and Ice Data Center, or NSIDC, is a United States information and referral center in support of polar and cryospheric